According to data from the Pew Research Center, older couples in North Carolina and the rest of the United States have been getting divorced at a rate that is twice what it was in the 1900s. People over the age of 50 and who are near retirement will find it particularly important to know how to properly divide their assets, especially their retirement assets, during the divorce process.
In order to properly split a 401(k) plan or pension, it will be necessary to obtain a qualified domestic relations order. This legal document details the right of a divorcing spouse to obtain a portion or all of the accountholder's plan. After the QDRO is given to the administrator of the plan, the specified amount will be transferred to the divorcing spouse.
Before taking the necessary steps to divide a 401(k), individuals should carefully review the paystubs of their spouse to ensure that there are no outstanding loans that are being paid with paycheck deductions. It is also the ideal time to make changes to beneficiary designations to ensure that an ex-spouse will not be named for the plan.
Individuals who have pensions through their employer will have to check with that employer regarding the company's policies for dividing them. It may also be necessary to use professional services to determine the value of a pension in advance. Divorcing individuals should not establish any terms for dividing a pension until they have the information about its worth. A divorce attorney can then take these and other matters into account when negotiating an overall agreement for the division of marital property.